COLORADO SPRINGS — A new space traffic management policy announced by Vice President Mike Pence April 16 would give the Commerce Department, and not the FAA, responsibility for providing space situational awareness data to satellite operators.
During a keynote address at the 34th Space Symposium here, Pence said the draft policy, developed by the National Space Council, is intended to address the growing number of satellites and space debris, and the increased burden placed on the Defense Department to provide warnings to satellite operators of potential collisions.
“The National Space Council has developed the first comprehensive space traffic management policy, which we will soon be sending to the president’s desk for his approval,” Pence said.
Space situational awareness data is currently provided by the Defense Department through organizations like the Joint Space Operations Center. The new policy, Pence said, would free up the military “to focus on protecting and defending our national security assets in space” by giving those responsibilities to the Commerce Department.
“This new policy directs the Department of Commerce to provide a basic level of space situational awareness for public and private use, based on the space catalog compiled by the Department of Defense,” Pence said.